For Halloween, I took a road trip to Minnesota (from Iowa City) to see my niece, Bronwyn, at my alma mater, St Olaf College. I stayed Monday night with an old friend of mine, a fellow Ole named Ruth Sylte. We were catching up with each other’s lives, and I got to talking about the kaddish in two-part harmony project and about grief and grieving.
Ruth told me about the grief that entered her life this spring when first her partner Jon’s best friend since childhood—and later an important friend of Ruth’s—had been killed in a car accident in Norway, where he lived. While Ruth and Jon were still reeling from that, the horrible shootings took place outside Oslo.
I ran to get my iPad so I could play Ruth the Kaddish I had recorded after that tragedy, when I incorporated the Norwegian national anthem, “Ja, vi elsker dette landet,” at the end. We listened to that together, and then we sat together in silence for a moment.
I asked Ruth to record tonight’s Kaddish with me, and I am hoping she will find time to write a remembrance of Arne for K2PH, also.